What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a hands-on treatment that promotes the health and proper functioning of all your body’s tissues. Primarily it improves blood circulation, settles nerve activity and encourages healthy, mobile joint and muscle functioning. This then helps internal organs function better. Osteopathy aims to get these structures and processes working well together in an integrated and supportive way. It’s amazing how well the body heals itself with a little help.
We encourage harmony in your body. This is a tailor-made approach because your body is unique. We’re looking at your body and your lifestyle and the right kind of treatment for you. It’s not some off-the-shelf solution.
Osteopathy and Pain
When things aren’t working well in your body, obviously pain and discomfort are the result. And we know what it’s like to try to lead a normal and happy life when we’re suffering. Even little ‘niggles’ can affect your well-being and life. We take the little niggles as seriously as the big ones.
Pain can be caused by a wide variety of body tissues, anywhere in the body – muscles, tendons, ligaments, membranes, bones, cartilages, nerves – even blood vessels themselves can cause pain (migraine, for example).
The effect of osteopathic treatment is to release areas of restriction, improve movement and blood flow and correct any imbalances in the whole body. Very often, poor function in one part of the body will affect another part. The best practice is to assess and pay attention to how the whole body works as a system. Well-being and health automatically follow. The body wants to heal itself.
Osteopathy and the whole person
We understand how the mind affects your body, and how your body affects your mind. We realise you can’t feel good in yourself if your body is uncomfortable! We are also aware how stress can cause problems in your body, and we know how to detect when this is happening. Our approach is to help your body and mind work in an integrated harmonious way. Our way of working is ‘person-oriented’.
Osteopathy as primary health care
In the UK osteopathy has become known mainly for the treatment of backache, but it was originally developed as a form of primary health care. It was used to treat the kind of common problems people went to their family doctor with. Most problems people take to their doctor are pain-in-the-body problems. These are exactly the ones that respond well to osteopathic treatment
In 1993, the Osteopaths Act gave Osteopaths a similar legal status as doctors and dentists. This means that professional standards now protect Osteopathic patients in the same way as patients of doctors and dentists. All Osteopaths are registered with the General Osteopathic Council, which maintains the highest standards of education and ethics. Osteopathy was the first ‘alternative medicine’ to be given statutory self-regulation in this country. When you see an Osteopath, you’re in safe hands.
Osteopathy and Cranial Osteopathy, which do you choose?
The fact is that the principles of osteopathy are the same no matter what approach your osteopath takes. You may have a preference for very gentle treatment – in which case choose cranial work – or you may not. We tend to choose approaches that seem appropriate for the problem, and for the patient.
All Osteopaths can detect with their hands, how the body functioning has become altered so that symptoms have arisen. They then use manual treatment to correct imbalances, and release restrictions in mobility. And they try to integrate the body so the whole body and its parts work together properly a system. This improves blood flow to the tissues and settles nerve activity.
Most osteopaths work mechanically, though gently, moving the body and its parts around to ease and improve this functioning. They use techniques that look like massage, techniques that oscillate joints, stretch muscles, release joint-restrictions, and hold areas of the body in a specific way until the change they want occurs.
Cranial osteopaths differ widely in their opinions and approaches. But as a group they use very subtle ‘holding’ techniques that influence not the obvious big movements in the body, but the innate rhythms and movement patterns of living tissue, such as the flow of tissue fluid, and especially the nervous system’s control of energy flow.